Maroons' skipper wants more in Origin II

Ed Jackson
·3-min read

Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans knows his team has to improve if they're to seal this year's State of Origin series in Sydney.

The Maroons head to ANZ Stadium with a 1-0 win after their upset Game I victory over the Blues in Adelaide last week.

But Cherry-Evans doesn't have to look back far to know victory in the opening match of an Origin campaign is no guarantee of series success.

Last year the Maroons won Game I in Brisbane only to be humiliated by the Blues in Perth.

It's a lesson the 31-year-old hasn't forgotten.

"They're going to be a lot hungrier. I dare say they'll be an improved side," Cherry-Evans said.

"We need to certainly take our game to another level.

"What we did in game one won't be enough to win game two, or game three. We're aware of that and we've been trying to work on that during the week."

Cherry-Evans has twice played Origin at ANZ Stadium as Queensland's No.7 with both matches ending in defeat including last year's 26-20 Game III loss to the Blues.

Having led a team with eight debutants to a series-opening win, Cherry-Evans says last week's performance has put to bed any doubt about the capability of the inexperienced players at his disposal.

But with NSW promoting Cody Walker to five-eighth and bringing in Melbourne premiership-winner Dale Finucane, Penrith backrower Isaah Yeo and Parramatta lock Nathan Brown he is preparing for a Blues' backlash.

"It was a little bit of an uncertainty of what was going to happen in game one, not necessarily if anyone was up to the challenge, it's just more so how we were going to come together as a side," he said.

"Last week, you probably heard us all speak about how much belief we had in each other. You just never know until you get out there.

"Certainly take a bit of confidence out of that first performance but we can't be any clearer in the fact that we've got to be better again to beat New South Wales, because they'll certainly be hungrier.

"We were in the same position last year, and the rest is history. They took the series from there.

"So some big lessons to be learned from last year, that's for sure."

Cherry-Evans is also confident centre Kurt Capewell will make the right call for the team on his availability as he continues to struggle with a groin niggle.

The 27-year-old has only done light training since limping off towards the end of Game I but his captain won't put a line through the one-gamer if he doesn't take part in Tuesday's captain's run.

"I'm not in the medical staff but we saw what Kurt could do last week," Cherry-Evans said.

"I'm obviously pretty hopeful he's available and I've got no doubt he won't put himself in a position where he feels as though he'll let the team down. Whatever they decide will be the right decision."